The heart? The brain? This won’t be a long post today but a qualifier before I begin. During the pandemic I lost 30 pounds and kept it off. I did this by TRAINING, not working out there is a huge difference. Now this isn’t a fitness blog, I am no diet guru I am an average man who used to be an athlete 30-40 years ago. I am now 52 and I have decades of experience working out. There are posts on my blog explaining some of the nuances I employ in my over 50 fitness journey check them out if you want more tips.
Today I’m going to talk about the most important body part for long term fitness: YOUR KNEE’S.
Your knees are critical to movement and movement = the ability to create long term fitness. Even if all you do is walk you have bad knees you won’t do it. “Ya but I can work upper body without my knees Karac”. Sure you can but you have to walk to the bench, or from your car to the gym. Point here is take care of your knees.
If you are over 50 this should be a priority item for your training regimen. You should be stretching your knees, getting them examined by your medical professional annually. This might mean a scan to see if there is scar tissue or how the knee looks internally. Here are some stats from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons – Link: https://www.aaos.org/
About 60% of all knee replacement operations are performed on women.
Approximately 85% of knee replacements will last for 20 years.
Nearly 1/2 of American adults will develop knee osteoarthritis in at least one knee in their lifetime.
80% of osteoarthritis patients have some degree of movement limitation.
Millions of people have knee replacement procedures now, and no it is not exclusive to the elderly (although the majority are 65+). The key take away is, in your 50’s if you are working out/training you have to be mindful of your knees and take care of them. They are the key to successful fitness outcomes and they should be your priority.
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In my travels I have come across all sorts of articles on anxiety. To be blunt most of them are “change how you think” rehashes. I found an article here that is a little odd, as it talks about the “unexpected benefits” of stress and anxiety. Of course I had to read it and its honesty not a bad read.
From the Article:“You have probably noticed that when you’re anxious about something, you can’t sit still. That reflects that short-term stress and anxiety are energizing emotions. They are your body’s way of preparing you for action.
Although most work problems don’t require physical strength, they do require mental energy in order to put in the hours required to address the issue. The motivational lift that a little anxiety can provide can be harnessed as you get to work. Your energy may also engage your teammates to help dig in.”
Now that is actually a valid point. Anxiety can often make you focus on the issue you are anxious about. This can lead to positive outcomes and a resolution to that issue. This article is short but it is absolutely worth a read because it does something that very few articles about anxiety do.
It tries to focus on potential positive outcomes of HAVNG anxiety. It’s not telling you to think differently, its telling you that while anxiety can be crippling and horrible for your health there are from time to time positive outcomes.
I’ve read many, many articles about anxiety and this is one of the few that I read a few times because I was astounded at its tone. This article is really applicable to people like myself (and maybe you) who are not on the extreme of the spectrum. It’s meant for those of us who function at a high level with anxiety and it gives specific examples of positives outcomes from anxiety.
It’s worth a read but remember, anxiety can be volatile. This isn’t a catch all solution to anxiety you should take it for what it is. A good illustration of how positive outcomes, occasionally can be had when you have anxiety.
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So prior to going off on the anxiety tangent recently this blog does serve the purpose for me and hopefully the readers of examine physical health issues. To recap, I have been working on attaining more health through eating better quality of food, better sleep and hormone balance. Today I want to talk about Cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, one of the glucocorticoids, made in the cortex of the glands and then released into the blood, which transports it all round the body.
So cortisol is yet another critical hormone in your body. It’s
called the stress hormone and the kicker is stress is often a creation of the
individual. As you have seen in my other blog posts I have created stress in my
life through anxiety that others might not have, and vice versa. This isn’t a
judgement on what is or what is not stressful, but what happens is prolonged
stress created a condition called Adrenal Fatigue: https://www.bodylogicmd.com/for-women/adrenal-fatigue
This condition is horrible because it literally saps your
energy and it prolongs the effects of anxiety and depression. Lower cortisol
increases fatigue, which in turn increases a multitude of conditions (inability
to concentrate is one main one). AS a result of the fatigue many of us turn to caffeine
which in turn helps to suppress cortisol, which then works to support adrenal fatigue.
Like so many things biological there are connections to
behaviors and on and on it goes. Trying to “feel better” is a full time job and
regulating your cortisol is one of the things you can do to help. Here are a
few things you can do to help restore cortisol balance:
Trying to be in bed by 10pm
Limiting your exposure to computers and television just before bed
Reduce sugars, white flour and caffeine
Stress reduction (this means different things to different people)
Regular (daily if possible) moderate activity/exercise
know those are all pretty general and things you should be doing anyway but you
Cortisol is YET ANOTHER hormone we have to think about when looking at a total
health solution going forward. The key is balance and if your cortisol levels
are out of balance you’re going to be fighting fatigue and all the negative
effects that come with it.
Day in and day out, if you are a consumer of news on the internet you are barraged with health news. Of course it’s not as sexy as politics or the latest celebrity scandal but health care remains one of the most talked about and concerning issues for Americans. Now my citation is older, it’s a study from 2011 which states that 42% of American adults are deficient in Vitamin D Source
There really isn’t any data that I could find that suggests
this number has moved much but first lets iron out what vitamin D does for you.
Vitamin D helps you absorb Calcium which supports bone health.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system.
Improved neurological function
Boosted immune health
Enhanced cell growth and rejuvenation
Fighting against inflammation in the body
Most importantly the biggest organ
in your body, your skin naturally produces Vitamin D when in sunlight. So what
are some of the benefits of taking vitamin D as a supplement? There is a lot of
anecdotal evidence, there are also studies ongoing. The 2011 study I cited
above states : “Mounting evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency could be
linked to several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and
cancer. “ Now this is somewhat misleading IMHO because when you
have a study that determines that 42% of Americans are deficient in something
you can indirectly link issues those 42% have to said deficiency.
However this study Is looking at the correlation between seasonal disorder to vitamin D deficiency. Simply put, they want to determine if in the winter and cold months, are people depressed because they are unable to absorb Vitamin D processed by the skin, while you are in the sun? It’s a good logical extrapolation really. Often in my life I have heard the old saying, “everyone’s mood improves when they get out in the sunlight”.
I’ve heard this from older people
when I was young, they were insinuating that sun = better mood, which we now
know means increased vitamin D. Obviously they were not scientist but many
times “old wives tales” are derived from years of observation. In the end I
think it’s wise to start supplementing with Vitamin D, and as its Spring time
to head out side and get some sunlight.
And on and on it goes… Loosing weight is a topic that gets
covered ad nuseum on the internet. The whole spectrum is covered from work outs
to diets to how many breaths a minute you should take a minute LOL. Where do
you start though? Sure you can read a book, subscribe to a website, get a
trainer no one is stopping you but there are a couple very simple things you
can do right now that can get you on the path to losing weight.
Does this mean these simple steps are going to result in a
100lb weight loss? Maybe, but what I can say is this will help change your
metabolism which is the lynch pin to losing weight. Your metabolism is
basically how you convert food to energy to sustain life functions. From
breathing to bathroom breaks you need energy to execute bodilty functions.
So a few things you can do:
Always take the stairs: By increasing your steps you
increase the amount of calories you burn. Find a way to take more steps at
work, take the stairs, take the long way to the office etc.
Reduce your sugar: Candy, Gum, Sugar in the coffee,
processed foods… look at the food you are eating and look for food that has low
sugar. That doesn’t mean low carbs (that’s later) just start cutting sugar.
Soda is a treat not a staple: Start replacing some of
your soda intake with either water or coffee. Not heavy cream/sugar filled
coffee but soda really has no benefit at all. Sure have it once in a while but
start cutting this out of your diet.
Higher quality of food: Think of your body as a mutual
fund, the more you invest over time the more income you get. Start eating the
best quality food you can get. Yes this will cost you more but your worth the
investment. Higher quality food = less chemicals = less stress on your body
Fruit in moderation: People rightly believe that fruit
is good for them. The issue really is the amount of fruit and source of fruit.
First you want organic fruit, as non organic fruit is covered in pesticides
your body has a hard time processing these. But the amount of fruit is critical
as fruit is loaded with sugars.
Bottom line is small changes like these get you on the path.
If every Monday you start a new diet, this Monday start a new lifestyle and try
incorporating one or ALL of the items above !
I haven’t uploaded much, my schedule was always going to be
4-5 times a week. You know how it is when you don’t feel well you don’t feel
like doing anything. I’m not going to go into the horrible details of flu/cold
(a cold isn’t the flu, but people who have colds often say they have the flu,
LOL) but I am going to give you a couple of things you should be doing.
The most important thing to do is wash your hands often.
According to the Center for Disease Control “Keeping hands
clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and
spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not
washing hands with soap and clean, running water.”
Everything has germs and it only takes a few to enter your
system and make you sick. You should be aware of what you are touching with
your hands. Perversion aside…. Door knobs, money, counter tops at restaurants
there is a huge list of things you touch every day that is riddled with germs.
Computer mouse’s, keyboards, your steering wheel on and on
and on. You could wear rubber gloves but that would be weird. Be mindful of
touching your eyes, mouth, nose and ears frequently. Especially the eyes, it’s
your window to the world, and a doorway for germs to enter your body.
You can use hand sanitizer that will work but the best way
to avoid accumulating germs is to wash your hands frequently. That doesn’t mean
scrub until they are raw but every time you go to the bathroom wash. Whenever
you get home from going out somewhere, wash your hands. In the kitchen getting
water? Wash your hands!